Monday, March 16, 2015

Fort Myers Bike Night

Fort Myers Bike Night - March 14, 2015

I have to admit, we were at the Fort Myers Bike Night on January 10th, but we actually drove the car there. (Yeah, I know, it felt like cheating to me too) Non the less it was a good time, with bikes to see and people to watch. I had chickened out taking the bike that time because I had never drove at night. That’s right, six years of riding and not once have I ever rode my bike at night. (BTW - mainly because it was just a little too chilly for me <smile>) I don’t know what is worse, being a chicken or a wimp LOL

But tonight was going to be the night because the temperature was still about 31 C (87 F) at 5 pm. That is right, finally we went to a Bike Night on our motorbikes! However it was just my luck, as we headed up Colonial Blvd it was obvious that it had recently rained as the pavement had turned into a creek that proceeded to wet my pant legs and give me a cool facial. A little further up the road one ominous cloud hovering above opened up and proceeded to spit on us. At least it was a brief wetting and nothing but clear cruising lay ahead as we pulled into the gas station for a quick fill up. As we neared downtown Fort Myers we were completely dry again... I was just glad I didn’t have to squish in wet boots as we walked around - Note to self: invest in a rain suit - because you just never know.

Bike Night in downtown Fort Myers officially starts at 6 pm, it was just about 5:45 pm and the party was already in full swing as we found a parking spot. Loads of people were milling about and even the live bands were already rocking. There were three stages set up at the three corners where the downtown section is blocked off. This is truly a must see. The area is blocked off to cars, however not for motorcyclists. So be prepared as you walk down the middle of the street to move over and let the bikers through. (After all, it is “Bike Night” people!) 

I had to chuckle as we made our way through the massive crowd - And it was massive, there had to be three times more people this time as compared to when we went in January. Might of had something to do with March Break...<wink> 
I heard a woman walking behind me ask her husband, “Why are the bikers riding in the middle of the people walking?” her husband just said in a bit of a sarcastic tone “To show off their bikes” BINGO! <grin>

There are all kinds of vendors setup on the street, from Biker Organizations to biker accessories and clothes. My favorite is to check out the variety of motorcycles that line both sides of the street. Love to see the custom paint jobs! My dream is to custom paint my bike... some day <smile>

The Joker...
We stopped at one booth for ‘Go For a Ride’ magazine and met a very nice women named Kati, her bubbly personality and enthusiasm for riding pulled us in as she put together a package of all the recent issues of the Go For A Ride (free) magazine for us. She explained that in each issue it includes a map for a motorcycle route. I am excited to try them out. Thanks Kati - hope to see you on the road! I should also mention that Kati writes for the magazine - Great articles by the way <smile> you can also find her on the Let’s Just Ride forum  

P.S. We are planning on going to Mugs & Jugs on Sunday March 22 for Biker Day (of course for me, weather permitting <smile>) : 12 pm - 4 pm 

Hmm, wonder if  the cover cost more than the bike
Hungry? There is no shortage of restaurants and for every taste, everywhere we went there was hordes of people jammed packed inside and out on the sidewalk patios. If a sit down restaurant isn’t for you, then there were plenty of BBQ stalls for the ‘grab and go’ types. (Not to mention all the beer you can grab to sip as you stroll) Most of the restaurants that have outdoor seating required a long wait for the table, but we found this one place, the United CafĂ©,  if the table is open, will let you grab it without the need to go inside and ask to be seated  (as long as you order) which of course that is what we intended to do <smile> The food is good with the standard Pub fare type selections and of course sitting out on the patio is the perfect spot to ‘people watch’. 

While we were enjoying the spectacle of people parading in front of us I decided to switch out my day time prescription lenses on my bike glasses for my new night time lenses. I have to say that these sunglasses were worth the investment. The sunglasses have the advantage to switch out the lenses for day or night driving. Very cool. I had just bought the night lenses before coming to Florida (specifically for this occasion) and it was the first time I tried changing the lenses on my own. It seemed easy enough when my ‘Eye Guy’ showed me at the store, but when left to my own devices it proved a little more challenging. It took me a few minutes to just remember how he showed me to switch them out, it was after all months ago. To my surprise the first one slid in perfectly, (like I actually knew what I was doing) however when it came to the other side after struggling for several minutes I eventually snapped it in place. I recommend this style for all of those who, like me, can’t see a damn!

As we finished up our meal and drinks, the street lights came on as the sun set.  (For the record: just a Pepsi for me - I don’t drink and ride <smile>) We decided it was time to go (and to finally test out my new lenses). We weaved our way through the throng to our bikes that we had parked on Hendry Street, across from the Cowboy Up Bar. We were also close to where the stage for the country band was set up. I have to admit, it was not bad for country music... said the rock’n’roller <grin> 

My first night ride was to begin. It started out good, and it helped that there are plenty of street lights along most of our route. I was impressed with how clear my new lenses were, and there was no glare from the traffic either, that is until about half way home when a few drops hit my windshield (I prayed that it was just one of those sporadic cloud bursts that tend to happen in Florida, where there is one little dark cloud that spits a bit on you and then moves on). But no such luck, before I knew it we were in a down pour. It reminded me when I first learned to ride at the motorcycle course I took. The entire weekend it poured rain - learning to ride a bike is one thing but learning while being drenched and soaked to the skin is quite another. After that, I had vowed to avoid riding a bike in the rain at all costs. (Now you might understand why I am such a ‘fair weather’ rider) So here I was again, my first time ever riding at night and what does it do... it pours rain on me! 

The most difficult was when we turned off the main road and onto the side street with no street lights. There was a line of on coming cars and the glare of their lights hitting the wet pavement was blinding me, also contributing to my limited visibility my glasses were steaming up and dripping with the multitude of water droplets that clung to the lenses. (What I wouldn’t of gave for a set of wipers) All I could do was just follow the red glow from my BF’s tail light. After the stream of cars finally past, it was a little better, not much, but at least the glare from the wet road subsided. The rain let up for about the last 5 minutes that it took to pull in the driveway. We made it! Talk about a challenging start to night driving... although doing something for the first time in not the best of conditions proved to me that I know I can handle it! At least now I am more confident about driving at night, however I still prefer driving during the day so I can actually see where I am going. <smile> 

As I wrung out my socks and hung up my jacket to drip dry, I poured the much needed drink of alcoholic nature <grin> after my harrowing ride. I flopped on the couch with drink in hand and smiled to myself feeling quite proud to have navigated in the dark on a rainy night... another little adventure, another great ride.

Just to let you know if you missed this one, there is another Bike Night on May 9, as for me, I will have to wait until next year as I will be long gone by then :(